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ZTE teases a new Nubia gaming phone

Answers directly to the Xiaomi Black Shark Helo

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For most of 2018, ZTE endured a heap of trouble with the United States government. Citing mistrust and cybersecurity, the government barred the company’s operations in the country. In effect, ZTE’s operations in the mobile industry screeched to a halt.

Despite the stoppage, the company still churned out plans for future releases. Now, after the penalty’s lift, ZTE is back in business. First order of business: teasing out oodles of upcoming phone models, including a new Nubia phone.


A sub-brand of ZTE, Nubia accesses a market hitherto untouched by its parent company — the gaming market. Recently, the Nubia Red Magic turned heads in the industry. Now, only a few months removed from the phone, Nubia is ready to launch another model in the same series.

Posted through Chinese social network Weibo, Nubia surprised users with a teaser for an upcoming release — the Red Magic 2.

Among other things, the Red Magic 2 offers incremental but substantial upgrades over its predecessor. From the little information proffered by the teaser, the smartphone will come with the new Snapdragon 845 processor and 10GB of RAM. For comparison, the original Red Magic had the Snapdragon 835 chipset and only 8GB of RAM.

Besides what’s under the hood, the Red Magic 2 will also get air and liquid cooling, 3D surround sound, and an enigmatic 4D gaming feature. Being a teaser, Nubia’s announcement limits the information it provides regarding these additional developments.

However, based on the information that we do know, the Red Magic 2 is a direct response to the Xiaomi Black Shark Helo. Announced just a few days ago, Xiaomi’s own gaming phone line also carries the new Snapdragon 845 and 10GB of RAM. Currently, the Black Shark Helo (and now, the Red Magic 2) is the world’s first phone with that amount of RAM.

Unlike Xiaomi, ZTE’s release is taking more time to marinate before launch. The teaser does not indicate when the phone will come out. For now, Nubia’s “coming soon” promise bodes well for the rebounding company.

SEE ALSO: ZTE Nubia Z18 is another affordable flagship killer

Laptops

Apple updates MacBook Pro line-up with tweaked keyboard and 8-core chip

The fastest Mac notebook ever

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Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | GadgetMatch

Apple‘s popular line of pro notebooks is getting more powerful with Intel’s new 8th and 9th-gen Core chips. Other laptop manufacturers already announced their latest models featuring the new processors and Apple doesn’t want to get left behind.

For the first time ever, consumers can get a MacBook Pro with an 8-core processor which is two times faster than an older quad-core MacBook Pro and has 40 percent better performance than the previous 6-core MacBook Pro.


The MacBook Pro refresh for mid-2019 greatly benefits the 15-model with Touch Bar. The base model now has a 6-core i7 processor and its high-end sibling has an 8-core i9 processor. If you wish, it can be configured to an even more powerful 8-core i9 chip which can turbo boost up to 5.0GHz. This is now what Apple calls “the fastest Mac notebook ever.”

Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch) | Image credit: Apple

The 13-inch Touch Bar models also get a processor refresh with the base model now equipped with a faster 8th-gen quad-core i5. It can also be upgraded to a quad-core i7 with a turbo boost of up to 4.7GHz.

Apart from the new processors, the rest of the MacBook Pro specs remain unchanged. However, the Cupertino company opted to use a new material for its keyboard which should reduce issues. It’s still the same third-generation butterfly keyboard design from previous models though.

The refreshed MacBook Pro 15-inch models start at US$ 2,399 in the US or SG$ 3,499 in Singapore, while the smaller 13-models start at US$1,799 or SG$ 2,599.

SEE ALSO: Apple might increase the iPhone’s price by 14 percent

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Samsung is getting a Game of Thrones-themed phone

The Galaxy Fold is getting more premium

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Image source: Caviar

Today, a foldable smartphone is one of the most exclusive things you can own. Despite the recent wave of launch announcements, the foldable smartphone is still a rare sight. Notably, Samsung delayed its own Galaxy Fold after new flaws popped up before launch. No one knows when (or if) the foldable smartphone will take off. As it is, the revolutionary form factor is only a premium purchase.

Despite the hitches, Samsung is making the Galaxy Fold even more premium. Russian luxury smartphone maker Caviar is taking the foldable smartphone on a trip to Westeros. Much like the golden Galaxy Note 9, Caviar’s Galaxy Fold draws inspiration from the recently concluded Game of Thrones HBO series and the unreleased Winds of Winter book.


Because of the foldability, the customized phone is shaped like a book. The front panel is stylized “into a cover of the long-awaited book.” Both the front and rear panels flaunt an exquisite bas-relief featuring the series’ dragons and Westeros’ house crests. As always, the phone’s extravagant details shine with a layer of pure gold. Likewise, the Galaxy Fold locks with a gold clasp when folded. Outside of the gold bas-relief, the rear panel also features a detailed map of Westeros.

Image source: Caviar

Specs-wise, the Caviar-led design touts the same hardware as Samsung’s main driver. The Galaxy Fold comes with a Snapdragon 855 octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of internal storage. It also features a quad rear camera setup and a dual front-facing camera combo. It comes with a 4380mAh battery.

Currently, Samsung has not announced a new launch date. Previously, Samsung announced an April launch date. As such, Caviar cannot announce a definite launch yet. However, the luxury brand has promised a simultaneous launch date with Samsung.

Caviar’s Galaxy Fold Game of Thrones Edition sells for a bank-breaking US$ 8,200. Additionally, Caviar is selling “cheaper” carbon and leather variants — selling at US$ 5,870 and US$ 6,180, respectively. At the very least, Caviar is offering free worldwide shipping for all purchases. Hopefully, it also comes with a free “Rains of Castamere” ringtone.

SEE ALSO: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 gets a luxury treatment with 1kg pure gold plate

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Gaming

Playdate is a handheld gaming system with a crank

Yes, an actual crank

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If you’re bored of the current gaming console landscape or are simply waiting for the next-gen PlayStation to come out, there’s this new handheld system that might keep you a little busy.

From a company named Panic, which is known for developing the popular game Firewatch, comes the Playdate. It may seem like a simple gaming system at first, but look to its right and you’ll see its defining feature: a crank.


The developer says that some titles will use this analog controller exclusively, while some won’t at all (which, to me, sorta defeats the purpose of placing that game on this console). Everything will be played on its monochrome screen with no backlighting.

You can see it in action here:

The spin here is that the Playdate will come with a subscription of 12 games — delivered to you once a week for 12 weeks. It’s part of the initial cost of US$ 149, but there’s no word yet if there’ll be subscriptions after that and how much they’ll cost.

Each game will be a surprise, which may or not be a good thing. Spending this much on an unproven console — and possibly more for succeeding subscriptions — could end up becoming a costly risk.

Orders will be accepted later this year, while actual shipping will happen in early 2020. For now, you can sign up through the official website to receive updates on its progress.

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